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Federal High Court Adjourns Hearing of Suit Seeking to Restrain APC, NWC, INEC from Conducting Direct Primary

A Federal High Court in Benin City on Monday adjourned hearing in a suit brought before it seeking to restrain the National Working Committee [NWC] of the All Progressives Congress from using the direct mode of primary to select its candidate in the governorship primary slated for June 22, 2020.

Adjourning hearing to Thursday, June 11, the presiding judge, Justice M.G. Umar said all parties in the suit are not permitted to do anything contrary to the procedure and hearing of the suit.

He also directed parties to file all papers and exchange same within two days.

The legal battle between the state governor, Godwin Obaseki and the National Working Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC), had resumed at the Federal High Court, Benin.

Also joined in the suit filed by the factional state deputy chairman of the party, Kenneth Asemokhai and a governorship aspirant, Mathew Iduoriyekemwen is the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The two party chieftains had approached the Court seeking to restrain the APC from adopting the direct mode of primaries, citing COVID-19 and 2018 APC National Executive Council (NEC) resolution as the ground for their action.

The mode of APC primary generated the acrimony between the governor’s camp and loyalists of the National Chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole shortly after the NWC of the party rolled out guidelines adopting direct primary.

According to the plaintiffs, who were represented by Ken Mozia, senior advocate of Nigeria, SAN, and John Odubela (SAN), APC Constitution provides that the states should suggest mode of primaries to the NWC, adding that they have suggested indirect primaries in which 4,000 delegates would participate with 500 delegates representing each ward.

However, defendants’ lawyers led by Henry Ogbodu (SAN), argued otherwise prompting Justice Umar to direct the parties in the suit to file their motion papers. The judge therefore refused to grant the exparte motion but gave the defendants three days to file their papers to show cause why the injunction should not be granted when the matter was first brought on Thursday, June 5.

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